China Perspectives 2012/3

SPECIAL FEATURE

Locating Civil Society:

Communities Defending Basic Liberties

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China Perspectives 2012/3

Special Feature

Introduction. Discussing “civil society” and “liberal communities” in China Page 2

Eva Pils

Graduated Control and Beyond: The Evolving Government-NGO Relations Page 9

Kin-man ChanFengshi Wu

ABSTRACT: Despite recent policy changes, governmental monitoring and control of grassroots NGOs remain pervasive and effective to a large extent in China. The enforcement of control over NGOs is complicated by at least three layers of factors: First, multiple agencies are involved in NGO control without a centralised norm. Second, government-NGO interactions vary across cases and are deeply rooted in local political contexts. Last, but not least, since the NGO community at its origin is highly diverse, NGOs’ responses to various types of governmental control differ, which in turn triggers further complications. The main findings of this research are based on interviews with 60 NGO staff, as well as with civil affairs officials in Shanghai and Shenzhen from January 2011 to May 2012.
KEYWORDS: state-society relations, NGO, Chinese politics, social regulation.

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Media and Civil Society in China: Community building and networking among investigative journalists and beyond Page 19

Marina Svensson

ABSTRACT: Although Chinese journalists are not able to create their own independent organisations, they are engaging in informal networking on-line and off-line that has created a strong sense of community among investigative journalists in particular.  Through sharing experiences, stories, and struggles, journalists create a collective identity and define their roles in society. Earlier studies of Chinese journalists haven’t explicitly addressed the issue of how a journalistic community is created and sustained in a society that lacks freedom of the press and where freedom of association is severely restricted, and the importance of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in this context, which is the focus of this article. Furthermore, it is important to study the extent to which and how investigative journalists network with other groups in society, including lawyers, public intellectuals, and civil society organisations. With the development of micro-blogging (weibo) we see new forms of community building, more open expressions of solidarity and ironic resistance, as well as increasing levels of interactivity between different groups in society. By reporting on injustices and the situation of marginalized groups in society, and commenting on public events on weibo, investigative journalists interact with many different groups in society and become part of a larger community of people who share the same ideals and struggles. Some journalists go one step further and set up or become actively involved in charity work and civil society organisations.
KEYWORDS: investigative journalism, interpretive community, relationship media and society, civil society, networking, microblogging/weibo, freedom of speech.

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Rights Defence (weiquan), Microblogs (weibo), and the Surrounding Gaze (weiguan): The Rights Defence Movement Online and Offline Page 29

Teng Biao

Abstract: The rise of China’s rights defence movement has occurred in tandem with the rapid development of the Internet in China. Various forms of rights defence inside and outside of the courtroom have emerged and developed alongside changes to China’s ideological, political, and legal systems and social structure. Similarly, Internet technology such as microblogs and other social media are enriching the modalities of activity in the rights defence movement, enhancing the mobilisation capacity of activists, and accelerating the systematisation of popular rights defence, profoundly affecting China’s ongoing political transformation.
Keywords: weiquan, social movement, web 2.0, social media, civil society.

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Protestant Christianity and Civil Society in Authoritarian China: The Impact of Official Churches and Unregistered “Urban Churches” on Civil Society Development in China in the 2000s Page 43

Carsten T. Vala

ABSTRACT: Religious groups can reinforce, complement, or undermine authoritarian domination. This article investigates whether high-status Protestant churches act as democratising civil society organisations by gathering hundreds of Protestants openly outside state structures to change church registration policies. In so doing, they also seek to curtail state domination over religion and, by extension, over all groups in society.
KEYWORDS: civil society, Protestant Christianity, house churches, authoritarianism.

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Western Funding for Rule of Law Initiatives in China:The importance of a civil society based approach Page 53

Thomas E. Kellogg

ABSTRACT: Religious groups can reinforce, complement, or undermine authoritarian domination. This article investigates whether high-status Protestant churches act as democratising civil society organisations by gathering hundreds of Protestants openly outside state structures to change church registration policies. In so doing, they also seek to curtail state domination over religion and, by extension, over all groups in society.
KEYWORDS: civil society, Protestant Christianity, house churches, authoritarianism.

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Articles

The Snow Dragon: China’s Strategies in the Arctic Page 61

Frédéric LasserreOlga Alexeeva

ABSTRACT: In recent years, several analyses and news media articles have predicted a resurgence of tensions in the Arctic over access to maritime space. Among the contenders involved in this potential struggle is China, whose ambitions in the region are suspected to hold a destabilising potential. Yet, as Beijing is developing its policy towards the region, it remains unclear whether it will contest the claims over maritime access of countries bordering the Arctic and forcibly take over parts of the region for resource extraction purposes.
KEYWORDS: China, Arctic, strategy, geopolitics, natural resources, Sino-Russian partnership.

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Current Affairs

Is Xi Jinping the Reformist Leader China Needs? Page 69

Jean-Pierre Cabestan

In autumn 2012, following the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping is to succeed Hu Jintao as General Secretary of the Party and also, in all probability, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission, where he has been second-in-command since 2010. In March 2013, he is set to become President of the People’s Republic of China. Born into the political elite, he enjoys a great deal of support in the Nomenklatura. Having governed several coastal provinces, the current Vice-President is thoroughly acquainted with the workings of Party and state. He also has support within the Army, where he spent a short time at the beginning of his career. In addition, in recent years, he has acquired significant international experience. Urbane and affable, Xi is appreciated for his consensual approach. Nonetheless, Xi is taking charge of the country at a particularly delicate time. China is having to adopt an alternative growth model whilst the government is struggling with powerful economic and regional feudalities. The Bo Xilai affair has highlighted the weakening of the central government, the corruption of the elites, and deep-rooted ideological differences within the Party machine that are damaging the political legitimacy of the regime and endangering its stability. As a result, Xi must not only reunify the Party leadership and machine but also establish his authority over all the country’s civil and military institutions. His style and charisma will help him. But his success will also and above all depend on his ability to form a united coalition set on reform and capable of dismantling the privileges acquired by the regime’s many bosses. The CCP needs a leader who is both strong and courageous. Is Xi such a man? Perhaps.

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CEFC News Analysis. Ambiguous Rights: Land Reform and the Problem of Minor Property Rights Housing Page 77

Karita Kan

China Analysis. Reforming China’s Criminal Procedure Law Page 80

Hugo Winckler

China Analysis. Local governments under pressure: The commodification of stability maintenance Page 82

Jérôme Doyon

Book Reviews

Book reviews from 2012/3 (pdf) Page 83

China Perspectives 2012/3

Isabelle Thireau and Hua Linshan, Les ruses de la démocratie. Protester en Chine (Ruses of democracy: Protest in China) Page 84

Chloé Froissart

John Lagerwey, China: A Religious State Page 86

David Palmer

Wu Renshu, Paul Katz, Lin Meili (eds.), Cong chengshi kan Zhongguo de xiandaixing (The city and Chinese modernity) Page 88

Wen-hsin Yeh

Sheldon H. Lu and Jiayan Mi (eds.), Chinese Ecocinema in the Age of Environmental Challenge Page 89

Jie Li

Kam Louie (ed.), Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image Page 90

Fiona Yuk-wa Law

Samia Ferhat, Sandrine Marchand (ed.), Taïwan – Ile de memoires (Taiwan: Island of memories) Page 92

Vladimir Stolojan

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